How much is real and how much is fiction? Hulu’s The Act depicts the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and the abuse she survived at the hands of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, before she and her boyfriend, Nick Godejohn, planned to kill her. In the series, viewers witness Dee Dee develop diabetes and see Gypsy struggle with taking care of her, all while coming to grips with the fact that she may not have the illnesses her mother had always told her she did. So, were Dee Dee’s health issues real, unlike her daughter’s? That’s a little unclear.

What Health Problems Does Dee Dee Have in The Act?

On Hulu’s hit series, Dee Dee develops diabetes. She’s warned that she might do so ahead of time but doesn’t take action to try to prevent getting sicker. Gypsy ends up helping her with things like injecting insulin every day, and while it may feel like yet another way that Gypsy is trapped with her mother, the show presents Dee Dee’s treatment as something she legitimately needs.

Did Dee Dee Actually Have Diabetes?

There’s a good possibility Dee Dee had diabetes. Unsealed search warrants obtained by the Springfield News-Leader in June 2015 noted that authorities initially got information that Dee Dee was diabetic and had obsessive-compulsive disorder.

However, those same records reportedly also showed that Gypsy had “a muscular disease that prevents her from walking, leukemia and requires oxygen at night.” That’s been proven untrue. Gypsy appears perfectly healthy today, although she’s behind bars for the murder of her mother after taking a plea deal that meant she’d only spend 10 years in prison for second-degree murder.

Honestly, Dee Dee’s possible diagnosis makes what Gypsy went through even sadder. She’s told in The Act that she’s allergic to sugar — when in reality, it’s possible her mother needed to watch her intake, not Gypsy. Gypsy’s toxic real-life relationship with her mother and Dee Dee’s death are chillingly laid out in HBO’s Mommy Dead and Dearest documentary as well.

Did Dee Have Have Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy?

It’s extremely likely that Dee Dee had MSBP and fabricated Gypsy’s illnesses and diseases. Munchausen syndrome by proxy “is a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability, Michigan Medicine through the University of Michigan reported.

A definitive diagnosis for Dee Dee can never be made because people can’t be diagnosed officially after they die. But Gypsy told Buzzfeed News in August 2017 that her mother “matched every symptom” for the disorder. Mental health is, of course, a part of health, so this is yet another health issue that the real-life Dee Dee may have had before she died.

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